Early childhood documentation can often become complicated and confusing but by organising planning folders and files it doesn't need to be!
Have you ever sat down to do your documentation paperwork with only 30 minutes to spare and then realised you have spent that entire time just trying to find the bits and pieces that you need to link everything together so you can forward plan and write the next program?
If it feels like paperwork is increasingly taking more time than you have available it might help to know that you are certainly not alone in feeling this way.
It will definitely help you to know that there are some simple organisation steps you can take to manage your time more effectively and spend less time looking for all those different bit of documentation you already worked your way through and now need!
It's perfectly reasonable that as an educator you have wished at some stage that you could get through your programming and documentation faster. It's not reasonable to let yourself get further and further behind and feeling overwhelmed and resentful. There are some simple things you can do to get back on track and the best part is they don't require any fancy app subscriptions, e-books, template packs or consultant fees.
How to save time by organising planning folders and files.
The first step I suggest for educators wanting to save time on paperwork is to first think about what type of documentation style works for them and how they can use that to meet each step of the planning cycle without doubling up on forms or templates (in other words doing more work or writing than is necessary – nobody needs that, least of all the children in your care!!) You can read more about how to put together your own planning system here.
The second step should take less than an hour to set up but once done it will save you hours in wasted time (stay with me – it's easy I promise!) So what is this time saving strategy? Simply organising programming folders and files! Sounds a little too simple doesn't it? But I can assure you I have used this system for many years and it actually stems from my work in community services and managing large government funded projects. I just applied the same methods to my early childhood documentation.
The video below takes you through how I set up my programming folders and files on the computer along with some suggestions and tips for how this can save you time and actually make linking your collected information and the progress of a child's learning journey more streamlined…no more looking for that observation you know you wrote out last week but still need to analyse the learning that took place then incorporate into your forward planning and saving in numerous folders just so you know you have it somewhere if anyone asks for that magical ‘evidence'!!
Although the video shows you how to set up and organise your planning folders and files on a computer you can still use the same categories, labels and tips to set up ring binder folders or filing cabinet folders if you prefer to work with hard copies or like to combine both computer and paper folders.
This walkthrough video runs for around 30 minutes and has actually been selected from the ‘Toolbox Training' collection in The Empowered Ed Member Hub. Each month subscribed members get access to new short videos like this that help them as educators to solve a problem or take practical action in one area – the videos continue to build into a library to select from and watch at anytime. They are quick to watch from home as every toolbox training video runs between 15-30 minutes only and video topics often come from our members as they request information on different areas that concern them at the time. To explore topics in more depth members attend our regular live webinars – always recorded so everyone gets a chance to watch them!
Our Member Hub doors only open a few times a year to let new members in but you can join our VIP waitlist here to be among the first to know when doors open again and receive a few freebie resources while you wait.
But right now let's get you organised and saving time on your programming paperwork and documentation. Press play and settle back with your favourite drink to find out how!
How do you organise your programming and documentation? If you have a time saver tip to share with other educators leave it in the comments below!
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.
I am in my first semester as a student of Masters of Early Ed and Primary. I found your blog when researching and wanted to thank you and to ask if there are any areas you think might be of specific interest to students and beginning teachers.
I don’t have a lot of money to buy things so any free stuff is much appreciated and its a heavy course load so I am pretty time poor, but then aren’t we all??? :)!